Twitter has started rolling out a service that helps users search for GIF images and then post them along with tweets and direct messages. The microblogging site has partnered with GIF search engines Giphy and Riffsy to enable the feature, which has been in test mode for a while.
When composing a tweet or direct message users, can now search and browse the GIF library provided by GIPHy and Riffsy. Searches can be based on keywords but can also be found in categories like Happy, Sad, Dancing, Singing etc.
The GIF search button will be available on iOS, Android and the web version of Twitter. Since the rollout has just begun it may take a while for everyone to receive the update. So keep checking your app store for updates.
Along with the GIF feature, Twitter also introduced support for videos in direct messages. It is not clear what file sizes it can support.
The changes are a part of Twitter's overall strategy to make it easier to use the microblogging site, which has been hit hard by slowing user growth. Last year, close to 100 million GIFs were shared on Twitter, a reason why the company is looking at this to increase user engagement.
Recently the company faced a backlash for changing the ordering of tweets in the timeline. The new feature uses algorithms to surface additional "best tweets" but has not been well received by users who say this fundamentally takes away what was considered a unique Twitter feature.
More about Twitter